Research by IT services company Computacenter revealed that only 6% of the 130 UK IT decision makers it surveyed felt they had fully achieved ROI on server projects, although 20 to 30% said they had somewhat achieved ROI.
Just 4% said they had fully achieved ROI from their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) implementation. This was due to unrealistic expectations on time to realise benefits, promoted by some suppliers, said Paul Casey, data centre platforms practice leader at Computacenter.
"Vendors come at it from the most optimum, ideal solution for ROI - it's possible but not realistic," said Casey.
Over-promising by vendors meant that nearly 40% of respondents expected to ROI from server and desktop projects over 12 months, when large-scale desktop projects typically took 36 - 48 months to recoup investment.
Respondents were also misguided on the benefits of VDI, with 80% saying it was easier to deploy and 70% believing it was easier to maintain, which is not the case, according to Casey. Rather than cost savings, VDI benefits came from enabling hot desking and remote working.
Another key reason for this poor return on investment was lack of planning, as 39% of respondents admitted they did not have a virtualisation strategy in place.
"A lot of organisations over the last few years have looked at it as a project rather than a strategy. What they do is pick off easy workloads and try and virtualise them, but they should have a strategy for where they are heading from day 1 to avoid changing platforms or redesigning," said Andy Goddard, practice leader, workplace and collaboration at Computacenter.
A lack of end-to-end management tools to help them control and monitor their virtual environments was also a problem cited by a third of respondents.
"There's no doubt that CIOs are behind virtualisation and we don't see the market tailing off at all, but there's a real need for better control and management of virtualisation," said Casey.